3D-nanostructured boron-doped diamond for microelectrode array neural interfacing.

PMID 25890717


The electrode material is a key element in the design of long-term neural implants and neuroprostheses. To date, the ideal electrode material offering high longevity, biocompatibility, low-noise recording and high stimulation capabilities remains to be found. We show that 3D-nanostructured boron doped diamond (BDD), an innovative material consisting in a chemically stable material with a high aspect ratio structure obtained by encapsulation of a carbon nanotube template within two BDD nanolayers, allows neural cell attachment, survival and neurite extension. Further, we developed arrays of 20-μm-diameter 3D-nanostructured BDD microelectrodes for neural interfacing. These microelectrodes exhibited low impedances and low intrinsic recording noise levels. In particular, they allowed the detection of low amplitude (10-20xa0μV) local-field potentials, single units and multiunit bursts neural activity in both acute whole embryonic hindbrain-spinal cord preparations and long-term hippocampal cell cultures. Also, cyclic voltammetry measurements showed a wide potential window of about 3xa0V and a charge storage capacity of, showing high potentiality of this material for neural stimulation. These results demonstrate the attractiveness of 3D-nanostructured BDD as a novel material for neural interfacing, with potential applications for the design of biocompatible neural implants for the exploration and rehabilitation of the nervous system.